Riots, Thieves and the Beef.

Trip Start Sep 09, 2005
Trip End Feb 20, 2006

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Flag of Argentina  ,
Saturday, September 10, 2005

I flew into Buenos Aires not really knowing what to expect from South America. I had been told to expect food poisoning and that I'd probably get robbed at some point. I had booked a hostel before I flew out from London but unfortunately there was a mix up at the hostel and I ended up having to lug my pack around the unfamiliar streets and ended up staying at another hostel called Hostel Urbano. It was pretty quiet here, but it gave me the motivation to get straight out and amongst the bustle and start my initiation into six months of freedom on the road and start to soak up the South American way of life.

On my first night here, there were massive protests starting at the Plaza del Congreso and then marching down Avenue de Mayo and onward to Plaza de Mayo. The Police however had different ideas and the march was not allowed to continue onto Plaza de Mayo. The police had turned out in force in full riot gear with riot trucks and water cannons. There was a tense standoff with the protesters every now and again trying to breach the line only to be forced back. It threatened to get really out of hand but after a few hours of the stand off it seemed to be more of a dance off than anything serious and eventually the crowds dispersed.

Buenos Aires is divided into a lot of different suburbs, all with very unique characteristics. Some of the areas I visited were the San Telmo area, which is the Tango heart and artist hub of B.A. The old port which is being redeveloped into plush apartments, restaurants and hotels. I also explored the Plaza congreso, Avenue de Mayo and Plaza de Mayo, housing the famous Pink Presidential Palace famous for its Evita Scenes on another day. I also Explored the plush Recoleta area, where lies a stunning, must see necropolis housing the grave of Evita and many more ornate graves. Recoleta also has some very trending shops and great restraunts. B.A. has a very European feel to it. Unfortunately due to all the protests and struggling economy the capital was covered in graffiti and the buildings were falling into disrepair. None the less it is still an awesome city and a great place to begin, oh and I had my first introduction to Argentinien steaks which are the best I've ever had.

I finally decided that I had seen enough of Buenos Aires and booked an overnight bus to Iguazu on the border of Brasil and Argentina. I carted all my stuff to the Retiro Bus Station and waited upstairs for my bus. At 6.30 when the bus was due to leave I went downstairs and put my backpack and day back down.
THEN IT HAPPENED!!! Some sneaky little tart came up to me speaking in spanish, which I of course new none. īNo habla inglesī was my response leaning closer to understand her. After that she wandered away quickly. 15 seconds later and I glanced down. No Bag!!!!! The girl had been working with someone else and when she distracted me, the other even more sneaky bastard swiped my bag from right in between my legs. I ran around for about 15 seconds before realizing that it was gone for good.
I normally wear a money belt but for some reason didnīt put it on on this one day . Heres a break down of what went missing for your pleasure and to remind me never to be so stupid again.
2 x Passports
1 x Credit Card
$US 200
1 x SLR camera and huge zoom lens (My pride and joy)
1 x Brand new Disel Sunnies
1 x Eletric toothbrush
1 x New Nokia Camera phone
1 x Travel Guide
Various annoying things like Marlia pills

Quite a hall huh! Anyway luckily I always keep a bank card separate as I new this was bound to happen one day, so the first thing I did was Book into a plush hotel, cancel my cards and drunk loads beer. After that it only took me 3 days for a new passport and 1 week to re-issue my tickets. The Guy at the NZ embassy said it happens every day. he also told me not to bother getting my NZ passport renewed as it was going to be easier to get around on my British one.

Anyway that little episode made me stay an extra 10 days in Buenos Aires and I ended up staying in the original hostel I had booked from London, The Milhouse. The Milhouse turned out to be one giant party. It has quite a reputation amongst travellers and it is very easy to get stuck here. Every night there are partys and clubs to go to and with over 100 people staying there, there is always loads of people going out. They also organize day tours, Partys in the hostel, Tango and Salsa lessons (which I had none of! Two left feet you see) and VIP (Gringo) entry to selected clubs.
I ended up going to Club 69 and The Operea house, a massive purpose built club. I am pleased to say that I got thrown out of both. Club 69 I have no idea why, Some security guard just said this way and lead me outside. Luckily I had my VIP wrist band on and just marched straight back in the front door. The Operea house I was really pretty drunk, so my eviction was probably justified on that occasion.

So after ten extra days of mayhem, it was time to finally get the hell out of B.A. and to Foz do Iguacu. Once again I lugged all my gear to the station this time determined to make it and also keeping one eye open for the thieves who helped remove my luggage last time.
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